David Nail Previews New Album ‘Fighter’ in Nashville
David Nail celebrated the release of his forthcoming album Fighter, due out Friday (July 15), at the Ruby event space Tuesday night in Nashville, Tenn., for an intimate room of fellow songwriters, industry professionals and family.
Throughout the evening, Nail, producer Frank Liddell and several of the album's songwriters appeared on stage with the singer and told the stories behind the songs on Fighter before Nail performed a selection from the album with his four-piece band. CMT's Cody Alan acted as host as Liddell explained the album making process, sharing that Nail came in and knew that he wanted to put his life on the record and wanted each listener to see him from top to bottom.
"I think when everyone hears the record they'll hear that," Liddell says. "It tells a complete story. He's such a great singer, that part is easy."
Nail says Fighter was built upon two songs: the title track and "Home." The latter he co-wrote with Barry Dean and Lori McKenna. The piano-based ballad about going home is a song that Nail says took a big weight off his shoulders, as he was finally able to say everything he's wanted to say about how he grew up, where he grew up, who he was and who he is still trying to be.
Meanwhile, Dean shared that he and McKenna, who also is a featured vocalist on the song, felt fortunate to assist on "Home," as Nail laid the formation of the song out for them during their writing session.
"You came in and were incredibly brave about it all and we were into it all," Dean recalls. "The whole experience of going home and you want to go home and you love everybody there but there's also a strange feeling where, 'Will it take me back if I've changed? Is it still the way I can relate to it?' It was really personal for us to get to be a part of it."
The album opens with "Good at Tonight," which features Brothers Osborne, who co-wrote the song with Dean and Troy Verges. It's one that Nail instantly gravitated toward the moment he heard it, but he admits he didn't want to record it if Brothers Osborne suddenly decided that they wanted to release it themselves. When the duo learned that Nail wanted to record it, they gave him their approval and he asked them to join him on it in the studio.
"I think it's amazing and I can just envision opening my show for the next 20 years with this song," Nail explained.
Highlights throughout the evening included Nail performing his current single "Night's on Fire" with songwriter Jonathan Singleton and the heartbreaking "Lie With Me" about the last night with a lover, accompanied by songwriter Abe Stoklasa. It was Nail's poignant "Babies" about his twins, though, that left a lasting mark on those in attendance. Talking about how the song came together after his twins were three months old, Nail got teary-eyed recalling the moment he decided to write a song for his children.
"In a weird way, I kind of enjoy the hardness of it," he said of the difficulties of being a new father. "Every choice I make, every decision I make is revolved around them now."
As he sang the emotional song with his yearning vocals, the room quieted — there wasn't a dry eye in the house.
Time and time again each songwriter praised working with Nail and said he is one of the best voices in the country genre, something attendees experienced firsthand as he played some of the songs off Fighter. Nail says he's written the most he ever has for a record this time around and as a result, Fighter is the most personal album he has ever made.
"This is the most fun that I've ever had recording a record," he concedes.
David Nail's Fighter is available this Friday (July 15).
Best Country Albums of 2016 (So Far)